Bluegrass genus / SAT 3-22-15 / Virginia willow's genus / Opera conductor Daniel / Granite paving block / Hafiz knows it by heart / Go anywhere do anything sloganeer / Theodore Dreiser travelogue / Means of maritime defense /
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Constructor: Frederick J. Healy
Relative difficulty: Medium
Word of the Day: Daniel OREN (54D: Opera conductor Daniel) —
Daniel Oren (born 1955) is an Israeli conductor. […] Oren has conducted opera productions all over Europe and the United States. Since 2007, he is the artistic director of the Verdi Opera House in Salerno, Italy. Oren conducts at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Metropolitan in New York, the Arena in Verona, the Vienna Staatsoper, the Bastille in Paris and the opera houses of Rome, Trieste, Genoa, Florence, Parma, Turin, Venice, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Tokyo, Huston, Washington and many others. He also leads many symphonic concerts with orchestras such as the Santa Cecilia in Rome and the orchestras of Florence, Koln, Stuttgart, Frankfurt and the Berlin Philharmonic.
His opera repertoire includes many Verdi operas, including Aida, Simon Boccanegra, La Traviata, Rigoletto and Nabucco; Puccini operas such as Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Turandot; as well as Andrea Chenier (Giordano), Norma (Bellini), La Juive (Halevy) and Carmen(Bizet).
• • •
POA?! (4D: Bluegrass genus). That "O" was the very last letter I put in up top, and I just stared at that answer. POA. Someone said "Sure, that should be in a puzzle." That fact blows my mind. Apparently veteran solvers know POA from the olden days when short obscurities reigned. But I caught only the tail end of the Maleska era, and POA never made it into my word bank. See also (the improbably worse) ITEA (23A: Virginia willow's genus). That is head-shakingly weak. ITEA! I, TEA? [Leoni memoir?] [Oolong memoir?].
What is a USM? Is that Univ. of Southern … Mississippi? People know that? Also, people know the OREN guy? Looks like he's been in the grid before, though lately O-REN Ishii from "Kill Bill" seems to be the preferred clue for all your OREN cluing needs (you should try to set your OREN Cluing Needs at "zero"). EFS is hilarious because no no no no. Fs. People get Fs. Those are the grades they get. EFS, LOL. But to repeat—the 15s are good. The 15s are good. That is *an* accomplishment. Please disregard the rest of the grid.
For the record, this is how I broke this thing: I recognized 1A: 1968 hit with the line "I was raised by a toothless, bearded hag" as a Stones song, but couldn't remember which. "SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL" wouldn't fit. So I went at the Downs. Not much luck, really, but enough luck (KORAN FLACK!) that key letters in the Stones song turned up, and thus, I was off…
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld